RICHARD ORD: 50 reasons why it’s great to be (50 part 1) – invasion of the listicles

Self check-outs
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It may sound like a painful skin complaint but the ‘listicle’ is taking over the world.

Never heard of it! Well, you may not be familiar with the name, but you’d have seen listicles in action. The interweb is awash with them.

They are articles in list form and are designed to catch the eye and lure you into clicking on them to read further.

Here’s some listicle headlines I culled off the internet: Six Ugly Celebrity Babies Who Are Now Hot As Adults; 27 Things Only People Who Don’t Like Babies Know; and 50 Reasons Why It’s Great To Be 50.

Actually, I made the last one up. There are, according to official government statistics, only 12 reasons why it’s great to be 50 … and I’ve found only six of them. And one of them is: at least you’re not 60!

I turned 50 last week and I’m still recovering from the party. Aching body, sore head and that unshakeable dark cloud of misery. What a hangover.

Except, four days on, this is clearly no hangover. It’s the fifty-something state of being. You might have warned me.

It would be easy to let the negativity take over, but instead I have vowed to approach this fifty-something decade by accentuating the positives. I will uncover 50 Reasons Why It’s Great To Be 50 if it kills me. So here’s one.

While I have joked that, with my luck, by the time I reach my half century, we’ll be told that 50 is the new 60, turns out I was wrong.

Apparently, 50 is the new 42! And it’s official.

Researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (it’s like the Laboratoire Garnier, but for geeks) have found that the brains of middle-aged people are getting sharper and younger to keep up with the demands of modern technology.

The mental skills needed to operate increasingly complex gadgets like mobile phones are making us 50-year-olds far smarter than our predecessors.

Great news. Of course, the whole point of this new technology was to make our lives easier. Instead, it’s like living in a perpetual episode of the Krypton Factor.

Nothing is simple anymore. The checkout at Sainsbury’s being a case in point.

Remember when shopping involved just buying something off someone? Not anymore. Now it’s the mental gymnastics of self-checkout systems, where you juggle your shopping with discount cards, loyalty points and pin numbers, while a computer bellows “have you swiped your Nectar Card” or insists “approval is needed” as you try to buy some over-the-counter Listicle Cream while balancing your goods on the weighing platform under the impatient gaze of fretful fellow shoppers.

Weren’t robots supposed to be doing all this by 2015?

But, hey, I’ve vowed to be positive. At least this new gadget brain treadmill is keeping the old grey matter in the pink. And it explains the headaches.

Next week. The other 48 Reasons Why It’s Great To Be 50. I need to lie down now.